Use the Five Why Questioning Technique

Photo: Frank and Eileen’s Rose by Lynn Davison

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” ~ Socrates, at his heresy trial for teaching young people to challenge the thinking of the day.

” Nobody sees a flower — really — it is so small it takes time — we haven’t time — and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time. If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.” ~ Georgia O’Keefe

Last week you started categorizing your daily tasks into eight categories (finance, food, health, home, jobs, keeping, learning and legacy.) Take a moment now to examine one financial habit to discover its root cause. Let me give you an example.

“Paying bills,” is likely one financial habit on your list. Let’s take it through the five question technique to see what we discover.

1. We paid our bills last week. Why? Because we didn’t want them to be late.

2. Why? Because we want to avoid paying late fees and getting dinged on our credit records.

3. Why?  So we can borrow money when we need to, rent an apartment if necessary, and/or get a job requiring a credit check.

4. Why? So we can live in our own home, take advantage of the tax deductibility of mortgage interest and get a good job.

5. Why? So we can live the lifestyle we want.

Therefore we cultivate responsible financial habits, like paying our bills on-time,  so we can enjoy the lifestyle of our dreams.

Take one of your financial habits and apply the five why questioning technique. I bet you’ll discover that you have very good reasons for doing what you do. So, where does this examining process lead you?

First, you’ll understand better why you’ve adopted the habits you rely on every day. Now you know why you must advocate these habits to your children (if you have any,) or to anyone you mentor. Examining the core benefit of each of your habits helps you understand fully why you must master them and cements your motivation to practice them.

By grouping your habits into categories you can see your life pattern more clearly. Once you pull all your habits and motivations together into a plan, you’ll be able to examine them .

  • You could see where you’d like to add habits or strengthen your resolve to practice some more regularly.
  • You may notice where you’ve been able to teach habits to your children/mentees and where you need to re-double your efforts.
  • Perhaps you will even see where you have been trying to do too much yourself and need to delegate or subtract habits to better balance your output to your capacity.
Perhaps most important, you could share your discoveries with your life partner, your life coach or your family. What you could learn from each other while discussing your life plan is infinite.
Let me know how it goes.
Auntie Lynn

Start with what you know

I’d been a manager of clients, projects and people for more than 18 years at work, and I had learned how to use tools to keep me organized. The first was a To Do List, which I mentioned earlier was growing quickly. The second was a calendar where I kept appointments. So far, so good. But not enough.

My burning desire was and is to have a close-knit family. I want each of us to be healthy, safe and wise. It would also be nice if everyone would pick up after themselves, do the dishes and their own laundry, study hard at school, get a job during the summer, exercise daily, eat home-cooked meals, save enough for retirement, go to bed on time, live a principle-centered life…my wish list was endless.

Thank goodness I found Marcia Garcia at She advocated keeping a Master To Do List. And chunking projects to work on a little each day. And to get rid of two bags of things each month (from a reader’s shared idea.) And lots of other organizing activities that made a BIG difference in our lives. However, the first idea that had a huge impact was the Master To Do List.

I find it demoralizing to copy To Do Lists over and over because it wastes time and just magnifies what I haven’t gotten done. Instead of just one list, Marcia suggests keeping your Master To Do List grouped by type. For example, my Master To Do List started out being categorized by phone calls, errands, correspondence, projects and miscellaneous tasks sections. Every week I picked a few entries from the Master List to complete during my week, printed it and carried it in my wallet. As I thought of new things to do or made appointments, I would jot them down on this list. Here is the template for my former Weekly To Do List:|

This approach worked for me for about a year. Until…

Aloha, Auntie Lynn

Why did I invent Framework4LIfe?

More than fourteen years ago I left the corporate world to be a full-time mom to our seven children (though one is in heaven.) Our newest daughter had just arrived home at only five months old. Our oldest had just gotten married.

Being at home full-time meant that we would finally be less rushed, better fed, more healthy, organized and on-time to every appointment. I dreamed of completing creative projects and taking beautiful photos of our growing, adorable children. I imagined harmonious days of closeness, baking hot cookies to welcome my kids’ arrival home from school, eating home-cooked dinners followed by cozy nights reading books together before nodding off to sleep. Life would be so much better!

Reality, however, was different. I had totally underestimated the amount of attention my then four-year-old son would need (and deserved.) Taking care of a young baby took lots of energy as well. The house was more chaotic and messier with everyone at home all day. My To Do List got longer and longer.

In fact, now that I was home 24/7 I could see so many project possibilities every day. Up close they looked more numerous, urgent and necessary than ever. Yet it seemed like I was getting less done at home than when I was working 50 – 60 hours a week. It was hard to finish a thought much less a project with two young children needing care all day plus two more coming home every afternoon and two more independent children needing encouragement. I starting feeling overwhelmed and uptight just as I had when I was working full-time. I felt exactly the opposite of how I had imagined I would feel.

Being a research geek, I knew there had to be something I could learn that could help me. I looked in the library, in bookstores and on-line (the internet was just beginning to blossom.) After all, mothers have been doing this job forever. How hard could it be?

Aloha, Auntie Lynn

Living in the Sweet Spot

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. ~ Lao-tzu

I want my children, grandchildren and readers to know that living in the sweet spot is one of those easy/hard things to do.  You all know what I mean by ‘living in the sweet spot’ — it is when you feel confident, energized and focused.  In the zone. With the force. In the groove.

Living in the sweet spot became easier for me when I defined the life I wanted. Going for that life puts me in my sweet spot.  It is really that simple.

It is also hard because defining the life I want takes time and energy and experience (both good and bad.) Plus I never stop defining what I want because my definition, like me, evolves. I do believe that my framework has given me the tools, and the push I need to get closer and closer to what is really important in my life.

It is not only possible but also critical to live my life in the sweet spot for that is the way I fulfill my promise, live my potential and make my unique difference in the world. Living that way makes me happy (and I want you to be happy, too.)

In this blog I write about how I use my Framework4Life to help define my best life and channel my energy in the direction that is right for me.  It keeps me organized and helps me understand that everything I do, however small, is another step toward achieving my life’s mission.

I think my Framework4Life will work for you, too.  You can use it anywhere.  All you need is a piece of paper and a pencil or pen (or a keyboard and a computer/smartphone.)

I want to give you the benefit of my experience plus point you to others who have made a difference in my life because I hope it will make your life easier.  Maybe you’ll avoid some of the mistakes I made. Most likely you’ll make you own mistakes : ).  Don’t worry. I have found that learning what not to do is just as valuable as learning what to do.

Are you interested? If so, subscribe to my blog. It costs nothing. You’ll gain a lot. Do it.

Aloha, Auntie Lynn